Sending Out An S.O.S

Just when I thought I was out of things to talk about…

I received an e-mail from an agent who would like to read my first 3 chapters…excellent, no problem.  AND…he’d like to read my synopsis.

My what?  Huh?  Come again?  I didn’t know I needed one of those–now I have to hack one together in the span of hours…(although, that’s for your eyes only…I’m really trying not to come off as a total incompetent moron to the professionals)

Just when I thought I’d figured out this whole “application for representation” process, a curve ball flies in from the left and gladly knocks me on my ass.  Amazing.

I have to do it.  I have no choice in the matter, I have to write a synopsis.  As of now I can look back at everything–all my misadventures and false starts and novelly green ideals–and say, at least I tried.  I’ve not let one opportunity slip through my fingers, and I’ve learned from everything.  I put in the time, energy and heart.  I made the most of it, albeit clumsy at best.

And now, I’m staring down something I literally have NO idea how to do.  I’ve written my fair share of synopsis’ in my day (but when I say “my day” I mean school…a place I have attended in over ten years!).  And this one isn’t for a grade…it’s for something way more sacred.  No pressure, though.

So…author friends…how do I do this?  I wrote the book, I know it–pretty gosh darn well–but to sum it up in 3-5 pages?  I’m lost.  Help a girl out.  Please & thank you!

Update:

I figured it out.  I locked myself in my home office for an hour and got down to the brass tacks of the story.  Whether it works or not, I certainly hope so, but only time will tell.

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3 thoughts on “Sending Out An S.O.S

  1. Hmm. That’s a toughie. Here’s my advice: start by reading the summaries on book jackets that you love, but this time think about them as pieces of writing. How did the writers condense and summarize the events of the book? What did they include, what did they exclude?

    Second, think about if someone met you for coffee, and said “So, how are you doing?” “Well, I wrote a novel.” “Really? What’s it about?”

    Our initial reaction is either: a) a really short, one-sentence description, or b) an incredibly long-winded, semi-apologetic description. Neither of those are suitable for this, so avoid both. Instead think about how you might describe the book if you were reviewing it for Amazon.

    Hope this helps! And best of luck to you!

  2. Ooh, synopses… more writer’s bane.
    3 to 5 pages would make for an awfully excessive book jacket summary. Quick comparison: The back-o’-the-book deal is more for the purposes of hooking reader interest; quick, hit the non-spoiler highlights, end on a cliff-hanger. Full synopses, on the other hand, cover the whole story — beginning, middle, and non-cliff-hanger ending, hitting all the major plot points instead of just the book jacket bare bones.
    And yeah — either one can be a bigger challenge to write than one might think. Condensing thousands of words into a few hundred or less? Phew!

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